Frequently Asked Questions
I noticed each year you change or delete the names on the family
tree. I thought once you were on the tree you were always on the tree.
Can you tell me why you do this?
the traditional Chinese kung fu teacher, the family tree has great
meaning. Each master has his or her standards yet by their masters. So
the family tree has somewhat different meanings from school to school,
or teacher to teacher. But generally the old masters took the family
tree very seriously.
Just as the name indicates, it is a "Family Tree"
with ascent on the word, family. A family is defined as: a group of
people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation, or a group
of persons of common ancestry, but the most common definition is: a
group of people consisting of a father and mother and children.
There are various kinds of family trees. Some teachers will list every
student he ever had, and other teacher will only list those who he feels
still hold the standards set fourth by his predecessors. Some family
thees are very short and others are very long and complex. Usually the
ancients masters had few students listed on their personal family tree.
I have seen some with as little as one or two. However, the common
traditional tree is around ten to twenty students. There are also many
master who never formally set down their own family tree, the reason for
this vary from teacher to teacher.
I can best speak for our family when
I say our reasons are based on the proper practice of Shao-lin Ethics
(Wu De) that determines who will remain on the tree or be stricken from
Because there is constant change going on in a family tree,
few masters want to be bothered with the constant maintenance needed to
maintain the trees correctness. We update ours one time per year around
the Chinese New Year. By this time much has changed students have come
and gone, some are added and some removed for reasons of ethics.
The reason a teacher would bother with all this work is to preserve his
art for the next generation of students. It was because of this practice that
our arts have been passed down intact as the masters intended them to
be. This is why I work so hard to maintain our tree, so when I pass from
this world people can look at this list and see who are the ones that
hold the secrets of our style. It is the voice of the teacher calling
from the grave, these are ones you can find my teachings.
A family tree
is a good source of information for those looking for a traditional art
form. In short, the tree is like your birth certificate. It shows that you are a
member of that family in good standing.
I hope this helps you better
understand this most important matter.
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